The writer Amitav Ghosh, had known Shahid’s work long before he met the man. One of their common friends put him in touch with Shahid. In 1998 and 1999 they had several conversations on the phone and even met a couple of times. But they were no more than acquaintances until Shahid moved to Brooklyn in 2000, when he had a sudden blackout in February. Tests revealed that he had a malignant brain tumour.
The building in which Shahid lived in Brooklyn was some eight blocks away from the writer’s apartment. Since, they were in the same neighbourhood, they began to meet for occasional meals, they quickly discovered that they had many things in common. Although Shahid’s condition was already serious by that time, it did not hamper their friendship. The writer was always present at the gatherings in Shahid’s house. He accompanied Shahid to the hospital whenever he went there. Even in a brief period they grew so intimate that Shahid asked the author to write something about him after his death.